Join Kol Hai's Forest Hebrew School
Through explorations of Judaism, spirituality, and nature connection, our programs are aimed at developing social and emotional intelligence and equipping young people to engage in a process of personal growth, responsibility, self-inquiry, and community involvement that they can draw upon and continue to develop for the rest of their lives.
Journeys Program (ages 5-8) Thursdays, 4-5 pm, weekly, with days off for school holidays and rain/snow days. Approx 20 classes total. $580
Passages Program (ages 9-12) One Saturday per Month 1-5 pm (Nov 21, Dec 19, Jan 16, Feb 13, March 20, Apr 17. Rain/snow dates are the following Sunday.) Passages includes more involvement from the clergy and specialist instructors. 11 and 12 years olds are paired with a mentor for 10 private mentoring sessions. $600 / $850.
Registration is open!
To register after the six-month session begins, or to request alternate payment options, please contact [email protected]
We have two incredible Jewish Outdoor Educators helping us kick off this exciting year of learning.
Arielle Aronoff is the former Director of Teva, the outdoor education program of Hazon at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. A graduate of Kibbutz Lotan's Green Apprenticeship Program, Arielle brings knowledge of the intersections of Judaism and ecology in education and seeks to create a learning environment in which children's natural inclination for play, exploration, and curiosity can be engaged while they develop a meaningful relationship to Jewish tradition and the land.
Jonathan Billig has designed and led programs, and trained teachers at The Bronx Botanical Garden, Wave Hill, and New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock. His Jewish journey includes an undergraduate degree from JTS, teaching positions at many synagogues, and participation in ALEPH's Kesher Fellowship and Romemu's Yeshiva program. He is an educator and aspirant toward wholeness/healing between humans and our more-than-human world.
Activities for younger kids will involve games, puppet shows, songs, and stories.
Activities for older kids will include:
- Wilderness survival and leadership skills
- Mindfulness, hitbodedut/self-awareness, meditation
- Hebrew reading and vocabulary
- Torah stories & holidays
- Jewish history
- Core principles, ethics, and values of Judaism
- Prayers and rituals – traditional and non-traditional
- Song-leading and musicianship
- Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and empathy skills
- Food systems, farming, cooking
- Bird-language, fire-building, shelter-building, and more.
Shabbat Village (K’far Shabbat)
This winter, we plan to initiate our Shabbat Village involving our Forest School kids of all ages and our multigenerational community. We will gather on a Saturday morning for kid-friendly services, group activities with our teachers during Torah study, and electives by and with community members of all ages, encouraging intergenerational learning, deeper relationships within our community, and opportunities for leadership among our Pre-Mitzvah students. Starting with one or two over the winter, we hope to gather monthly starting in the spring and summer.
Passages (Pre-Mitzvah) Program
Passage is for pre-teens ages 9 to 12. While our tradition holds a space for a b-mitzvah, our emphasis is on the wider concept of a “Rite of Passage”. We will provide the emotional and spiritual preparation for a rite of passage that is appropriate for each child, and we will observe it through a significant challenge according to each child’s ability. While we will provide support for B-mitzvah ceremonies, we will also draw upon rites-of-passage, mentorship, and character-building practices from many toolboxes and cultures.
Our clergy and all of our staff will be involved in this program. Tuition for 11- and 12-year-olds includes 10 conversations of around twenty minutes with an instructor over Zoom, or on a walk, to discuss individual goals and projects, or to receive tutoring.
Safety and Details
Our programs are outdoors and involve socially distanced and/or masked activities centered around the campfire. In extreme weather we may seek indoor, well-ventilated options, or we may cancel class. Outdoor activities will be cold-weather appropriate. We will have outdoor bathroom accessible to us, but please have your children use the bathroom before class.
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